Insight Mind Body Talk

Ep 29 The Nature Prescription: Gardening for Mental Health

March 06, 2022 Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT Season 1 Episode 29
Insight Mind Body Talk
Ep 29 The Nature Prescription: Gardening for Mental Health
Show Notes Transcript

In today's world of technology, many people are choosing to turn off their screens and get back to nature.  In this episode of Insight Mind Body Talk, Jessica Warpula Schultz, LMFT, and her guest, Ariyanna Toth,  MEd, RYT-200, discuss where this shift is coming from, why being outdoors is so important to the psyche, and how the listener can improve both their physical and mental health through the art of horticulture and gardening. 


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 [00:00:00] Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-based mental health podcast. We're your hosts, Jessica Warpula Schultz and Jeanne Kolker. Whether you've tried everything to feel better and something is still missing or you've already discovered the wisdom of the body. This podcast will encourage and support you in healing old wounds, strengthening relationships, and developing your inner potential- all by accessing the mind body connection. 

Please know, while we're excited to share and grow together. This podcast is not intended to be a substitute for mental health treatment. It doesn't replace the one-on-one relationship you have with a qualified healthcare professional and is not considered psychotherapy. 

Thanks Jess. And thank you for listening. Now, let's begin a conversation about what happens when we take an integrative approach to improving our wellbeing. Welcome to Insight Mind Body Talk. My name is Jess. I'm a Licensed Marriage [00:01:00] and Family Therapist. And your host! Today's episode is titled The Nature Prescription: Gardening for mental health. My guest is Ariyanna Toth. As a registered yoga instructor, Ariyanna has a passion for mental health and wellness. She is a clinical intern at Insight Counseling and Wellness, and believes in an integrated approach to mental health, focusing on connection, movement and mindfulness.

She has her Master's in Education with a focused on Applied Behavior Analysis and has previously worked as a behavior analyst with children with ADHD, dyslexia, autism, and learning disabilities. As a psychotherapist, she hopes to combine her knowledge of behavioral change with mindfulness and nature, creating a unique experience for others to connect to their best self as an avid plant person.

And through her love of [00:02:00] adventure in the outdoors, she realized the significant impact of gardening and nature on her own wealth. Inspired by her own lived experience. She now incorporates nature into mental health treatment. Ariyanna's is passionate about bringing the body and nature into therapy. You can see why she is the perfect guest to discuss the great outdoors and how outdoor activities specifically gardening can lead to therapeutic transformation.

Welcome Ariyanna. Thank you. I'm really excited to be here. And to be honest, if anyone just says, Hey, do you want to sit down and talk about plants and gardening? I'm there. So, which is what I did, right. I was like, Hey, do you want to talk about plants and gardening and mental health? Well, and it's also exciting because a lot of listeners don't know this yet, but.

Insight is expanding to a couple of different [00:03:00] branches. We have a new building coming this spring. We have a new, um, satellite branch in Verona, Wisconsin, and both places are going to have gardens and, and you're going to be kind of in charge of those. Right. And, and actually connecting even some of our consumers to gardening in real time.

Yes. And I am very excited. I mean, I am passionate about gardening and the fact that I could possibly do it for work is. Yeah, no, the dream that's the dream. Agreed. Agreed. So let's begin then. All right. Ariyanna, in today's world of technology. Many, many people are choosing to turn off their screens, thankfully, and get back to nature yourself included.

Where do you think this shift is coming from? And in your opinion, why is being outdoors so important to our psyche? Well, that's a good question. And I think we are, as we're recording this, we're coming at the end of [00:04:00] winter, Wisconsin winter. So there's this push to just get outside and most of us have been hibernating, but then there's the bigger picture.

As far as the pandemic. I mean, we went to this place of lots of screen time and that, that isn't necessarily a bad thing. But most of us are spending most of our work day or for kids, most of their school day online and then afterwards screen time. And it, it gets us to this point where we are both the most connected to.

Human beings on the planet. We have so much connection to the entire world through the internet, but I'm sure as a therapist, you're finding that we are actually the least connected and we have a lot of people who are feeling lonely and disconnected, and that's a new, [00:05:00] new thing for humans. If you think back how connected to nature.

Within the last hundreds of years, and now we spend most of our days inside. And so this is a really important topic, pre pandemic, but also right now, I agree. I agree. There's a, you know, and I now will have to research this article cause I'm going to talk about it, but I once read how. You know, nature and how it just changes our system.

And so for example, being outdoors is like the number one thing people can do to like, experience that shift, which we'll start talking about in a few minutes, but then even they said, research shows that. Putting up, you know, looking out of a window still has some benefits and then you can even take it to looking at a picture of nature.

Still has some benefits and listening to a, you know, plug it in into your wall. A babbling brook will still shift our nervous system and our [00:06:00] chemicals and our brainwaves. And I just think that's fascinating. And you're right today, we live in concrete jungles. Right. And the pandemic has really pushed a lot of us inside and that can shift our mental health, both on a, you know, an emotional and cognitive level, but probably, you know, as we're going to talk about in a little bit, not probably for sure, it also shifts us even on, you know, how our genes are expressed or how the chemicals or hormones shift in our bodies and, and what that does to our mental health.

Yeah. And everything you just said, especially like, you know, the noise machines and how birds chirping or a stream. Those nature sounds, our brains are hardwired to pay attention to those types of senses. You think about. Whether you're standing in a garden or in the middle of the forest are our senses.

Our five senses are kind of lit up by the [00:07:00] sounds and the sights and the smells. And so our bodies are hardwired to pay attention to that. And we just don't get the time in our society. Right. so thinking about what types of activities people can pursue. I know we're going to talk about gardening specifically, but even just generally, what types of outdoor activities does research show shifts our mental health and our wellbeing?

Well, that's what makes me so excited because this started as my own, you know, I started gardening for myself and realizing how much of an impact. That had on myself. And then as I'm going down into this route of becoming a therapist, I was like, curious, you know, what is the research showing? And over the last decade, there's this whole umbrella of either nature therapy or ecotherapy and the ability to.

[00:08:00] Say that therapy doesn't need to look a certain way. We don't need to sit in a room. And I, you know, this podcast goes over that, you know, bringing the body and all of these different approaches, but really there's this whole realm of niche, nature therapy, ecotherapy horticultural, which is kind of that gardening piece, wilderness therapy, adventure therapy, and really all of those kind of boil down to getting outside.

Connection of some sort, whether that's to yourself, to others, to something bigger than yourself and moving your body in a mindful. That's probably why those retreats right. In nature, and in other places are so sought after and why we feel so different even, even from just going for a walk, you know, around our block, let alone getting to go to a retreat or to do, you know, uh, forest bathing, you know, things of that nature.

Yes. Yeah. [00:09:00] And I am hopelessly addicted to top tick-tock right now. And one of the trends that reminds me of the, like going on a stupid mental health walk for my stupid mental health. And the idea is just like, yes, it actually works. So getting outside and moving your body, even if we want to say it, doesn't, uh, you know, I, my husband that he's probably not going to be happy that I'm sharing this story, but it's.

It's a future story. So he recently had a sports injury and he's laid up and we are going to after recording this podcast because he can't get outside because he's using one of those knee carts. And so we're going to take, what's called our gorilla cart. It's like this huge wheelbarrow. I'm sure people out there know what I'm talking about, but just imagine, you know, on four wheels, a wheelbarrow.

Leaves and grass clippings. And we're gonna, we're gonna like put them in there with some pillows and then elevate his foot and I'm going like pull him around the block. [00:10:00] And I cannot wait to see what our neighbors, you know, what, maybe sunshine you need center because it is so hard. And he's, I got to get outside, you know, we've got to, you know, feel the sunshine on my face.

I've got to smell the. Here are the birds look at the trees because it does shift our mental state. So there's such an impact. And I know sometimes we feel, you know, in our world that we're so busy that we have to be able to get to like those big retreats or that, that big walk in the forest. And that's not true.

We just need, you know, five or 10 minutes sometimes to, to experience those, you know, feel good hormones start and different things like that. Yes, we're getting ahead of ourselves. So we're going to talk about all that. Awesome. This in a second. Well, then let's shift into gardening. I'm really excited to hear what you have to say and what you want to share.

And, you know, I think, you know, the reason why you want it to talk about gardening and I agree was just that how [00:11:00] accessible it can be to people and how beneficial it can be. Yeah. So let's go for gardening. What are your thoughts? What do you know about mental health? What are the benefits? All that good stuff.

Yeah. And I should say, that's a good point of what you said is that yes, we'll talk about gardening, but it can be as simple as just getting outside and some of those other aspects. Um, and so when I think about gardening and especially what the research is saying, it sounds like there's more of these kinds of more obvious benefits.

And maybe those are more of the physical events. And some of those are just like what we were saying, sunshine. Um, the idea of being out in the sun and honestly, in the midst of winter right now, that sounds fantastic. But there is a lot of research that shows. The effects of vitamin D deficiency on mental health.

I [00:12:00] know that a lot of prescribers of, uh, medications will look at that first before even giving an antidepressant, because there's such a big association between the two. Um, and so of course, gardening, you're going to be outside and in sunshine. And let me say too, about vitamin D, our doctors just don't test for vitamin D.

So everyone out there, when you go to your annual, I mean, I, hopefully everyone's going to, you know, check in on their health and wellbeing, ask for your, you know, to get, uh, you know, a blood test on those vitamin D levels. Cause you'll be surprised on you think you're getting enough, but you could be on the lower end of the spectrum.

I know we don't get sunlight as well in this area of the country. Oh, I think they say like nine or 10 months out of the year. And you know, even when we're supplementing vitamin D, it takes being outside to make, you know, the chemical reaction really happened taking, uh, a supplement and then staying in doors the whole time isn't gonna [00:13:00] make, you know, the bio availability of that vitamin D is strong.

So you want to be outdoors and get that sun on your face. Even for a short while. Um, and, and if you're not sure where your levels are at, get it tested. It's really important. I know. Yeah, absolutely. And the other thing is gardening is a physical activity. I mean, with this podcast, you've talked a lot about bringing the body into therapy and the effects of physical health on mental health.

Well, gardening, you're, you're walking, you're digging, you're bending over, you're lifting. And, and so it can be, you know, at times in aerobic exercise, but just the idea of spending. Your Saturday out in the garden and the different projects and moving your body. That's, you know, an obvious benefit. Agreed.

Agreed. You know, and, and thinking about to something, you know, you and I have talked about before is also just knowing where your food [00:14:00] comes from when you're gardening. And I mean, I don't have a garden right now. I'm sure I will, at some point, but my friends who do they love, knowing that they grew that food and where it came from and what pesticides or chemicals were, or were not put on, you know, where they're.

Don't know exactly. I mean, when you go to the grocery story, you don't have that kind of control of what went into this. And also, like you said, the fertilizers, the pesticides, you get that control when you have your own garden and you grow your own food. And there's also that little, like, this tastes a lot better because I put so much work into it.

And so. If you can reap the rewards, if you can actually get to a point where you're harvesting your, uh, food there, that's an obvious benefit of it as. Agreed. Agreed. Well then let's talk about a little bit, let's talk a little bit more about the [00:15:00] less obvious benefits, right? So you're right. We move, we get sunshine.

We get to eat a little bit more organically. We know where the food's coming from, but what are some of the benefits that maybe the average person isn't considering. Yeah, well, this is my favorite part of it, because these are the things that you, you may start gardening for one reason and realize all of these other aspects.

Um, one of my favorite ones is. Literally grounding. And so there's a lot of research actually out there on grounding. Um, I know they've said for like jet lag, getting your feet on the earth can actually help with getting your circadian rhythms, but putting your hands in the dirt and getting yourself grounded that way can help with your nervous system and regulating yourself.

It can help with getting you. This kind of bigger sense of connection. Um, [00:16:00] and as a yoga teacher, I always say like, what do we need to do to drop ourselves into our bodies? We spent so much time in our heads, in our thoughts, scattered, lost, overwhelmed, and getting your hands in the dirt is a very quick and easy way to kind of drop yourself back in.

I never thought of it that way, but when I think back on, you know, planting something or even potting, like buying flowers for a friend for their birthday, and then putting them in a pot and putting your hands in the soil, usually big smiles are happening during that process. And afterwards it is hard to be mad when you're doing that.

Though, I will tell you sometimes when I'm mad is when I do the best weeding, I'll go up my yard and I'll like, I will be when I need to, I'll put some of that polyvagal, you know, hyper arousal or, you know, fight response. I do, I do enjoy the energy of the bending and the pushing and the pulling and different things like that too.

[00:17:00] But yeah, it's, it's hard to, after you're done not feel that nervous system shift, it really. I agree. And, and if you find me in the garden, I don't use gloves. I have my hands in the dirt and I just love that feeling just a couple of weeks ago. Um, we're not in gardening season, obviously right now, but, um, I was repotting something inside and it was literally just like a kind of moment when you get your hands in the dirt.

And we've lost that. I mean, talk about the pandemic. We are. Obviously for very good reasons, you know, hand sanitizer washing our hands, but we're not connecting to some of that really good bacteria and the good stuff where you get your hands in the dirt and it it's related to our gut microbiome. Mm. And if listeners don't know, it's such a good point, you know, I think, you know, our microbiome is, [00:18:00] is really like this.

I like how the Harvard school of health kind of explains what our microbiome is. So picture a bustling city on a weekday morning, the sidewalks are like flooded with people. They're all trying to get to their appointments. I like to imagine like New York city, right? Like the Mecca of. Chaos and busy-ness, and, and now, so think about that though, at a microscopic level.

And that's kind of what, like our microbiome looks like inside of our bodies, you know, it consists of trillions of microorganisms, thousands of different speeds. Now only bacteria, but fungi, parasites, viruses, you know, and in a healthy person, these, these bugs, you know, these, this, this, these microorganisms coexist peacefully, and the largest number of them can be found in our small and our large intestines, but also throughout our body.

And the microbiome people are now even starting to label as a supporting Oregon. [00:19:00] In itself because it plays so many key roles in promoting the smooth daily operations of our body. But what's kind of cool though, too, is that there is this bi-directional so two way communication between our nervous system and the micro.

I think I'm saying it correctly. So the microorganisms in our gut, so there's this gut brain central kind of communication happening and any imbalance in our gut flora or any inflammation of the gut has been linked to more severe mental illnesses, including anxiety or depression. Because again, that, that microbia.

Plays a really important role in the interactions between our gut and our system. So brain chemistry, um, our endocrine system, our hormone system, our stress responses, memory, anxiety, [00:20:00] all of that can be affected by changes in our microbiome. Is pretty amazing because that also means we can change it back.

We can do things like putting our hands in soil. We can move our bodies. We can eat foods that support the microbiome versus, you know, can cause stress to the microbiome. And it's all starting. You know, that's just a real simple version. I'm not going to get too much into it because I'm not an expert in that area.

But I think as a body worker, there's so many times that I. You know, work with my clients. And even in my own lived experience, how looking at how nutrition and movement and our gut health truly impacts our mental wellbeing. It's so simple. Yeah, it's fascinating stuff. And I D that's another area that I'm not an expert, but I would like to look into it further just because there's such a connection there.

And it's not necessarily just having to eat the nutritious [00:21:00] foods that we can actually impact that just by getting our hands in the dirt. You know, we don't have to eat the dirt impact our, if that's what you want to do, but, um, It's incredible that you can impact your body in such a way with, by just getting your hands in the dirt.

Yeah. Well, I mean, our gut bacteria, you know, also produces a lot of those neuro-transmitters right? So those, those, um, neurons that give signals back and forth in our brain, so they help create dopamine norepinephrine. All of these really important chemicals or hormones that are critical for managing our mood critical for concentration, for motivation, for decreasing anxiety.

And I've just never heard that before, before, you know, you talking about it with me, that even the act of putting our hands in the soil starts to shift that change. I mean, that's phenomenal. Yeah. And I guess that, you know, the, there's the physical [00:22:00] aspect of that. There's the, the mental aspect of the like grounding, like we talked about, but I think another major benefit of something like gardening is that there are a lot of life lessons to be learned through gardening.

And I think these are important for children to learn, but I think adults benefit just as much things like patients. So it's not like you plant a seed and then all of a sudden you have a tomato plant. You can harvest the next day, uh, acceptance of what you can and can't control, which is a huge one. Uh, the example I was thinking of it.

We spent, uh, a really long time creating this kind of ideal garden in our backyard when we moved from Phoenix to Wisconsin. Cause I was so excited that I didn't have to spend all day long, uh, watering our desert plants. Um, [00:23:00] and we created this like kind of homemade DIY trellis to hold our, our cucumbers.

Well, Later in the year, a huge, huge wind storm came and knocked over the trellis, it fallow or on our zucchini plants that were just thriving. And so this is an opportunity to figure out how you're going to respond. And it's seems so simple. It can be related to everything else you do in life. I can sit here and say, well, gardening is not for me.

And I give up, and this is, you know, this was a waste of time or I can salvage what I can and figure out how do I prevent that from happening next year or the next storm? And maybe I need more, a better structure. Maybe I need to check the weather more often. And that's a skill that I think is really important for everyone.

Um, children and adults, the kind of the lesson of, you know, [00:24:00] what we can control and what we can't control and, and how we respond to what happens in life. And I agree, it sounds in some ways that gardening even camp. You know, help with those bigger emotional regulation skills or, uh, help us expand our window of tolerating difficulty or tolerating things that are uncomfortable for us.

And. And you're right patients right in this world, we get a lot and we get a lot of it fast. I, I, uh, I can't even, that's probably why I don't have a garden. I feel like my brain goes a mile a minute and to ask myself to slow down and put something in the dirt and then have to wait to see if I messed it up or not.

If it's gonna work or not. It makes me a little uncomfortable just thinking about it, but it probably, that means that would be a good lesson to pursue. That [00:25:00] actually perfectly goes into one of my favorite benefits and this is coming from, I have ADHD and I think both, you know, neuro-typical and neurodivergent can benefit from this is that, like you said, we live in a world of short-term reinforced.

Food is fast. The internet is fast. If we have a question, we can get it answered and, you know, just thinking about Tik TOK, right? So that's like fast, quick seven seconds and you're onto the next thing. Well, we've kind of lost the stability to. Do difficult things and put in effort, even if that reinforcement isn't right away.

So like you were saying, you know, can I put in this, all of this effort and all of this work, knowing that I'm not going to reap the benefits of this until way later, and that's not even guaranteed if a trellis falls on your guardian, for example, Yeah, it sounds in a way, you know, my system right [00:26:00] away feels like, well, that's a risk.

I don't want to be hurt or I don't want to be disappointed. And yet at the same time, what an amazing outcome, if it does work or, you know, the lessons you can learn about yourself and, and you're right. I think all of us probably need a big dose of, or would be helped by having a big dose of things in our life.

That slow us down and, and, and keep us present in the moment and help us, um, make peace, you know, with that busy-ness and kind of pull back from it. Yeah. I mean, I'm going to say connection probably 300 times, but it is that we, that piece of connection of being able to find a little bit of stillness, but then, you know, what we're saying is like gardening, As a hobby or gardening as a skill.

It takes a lot of preparation and planning [00:27:00] and problem solving and learning from your mistakes and trying it the next year. And it's a long-term activity. And so I think that's really important for all of us and then especially children and adults with ADHD, where that is really hard, that kind of executive functioning and planning ahead and sticking with it.

Um, One thing. I'll talk a little later about it, but I connected to a lot of different like gardening, Facebook groups, and it's really nice to have kind of that community of like-minded people. And this one comes up all the time and it just reminds me of that is after six weeks, $140 in supplies and daily watering, we are only three or four weeks away from enjoying one single 25 cent vegetable from our garden.

And it's the idea of like, I'm putting all of this work in and what am I going to get out of it? A very, [00:28:00] very great tasting tomato, super yummy to me know, super yummy and hay. And last year I had some of your soup, Keeney or cucumbers. I can't remember what you brought us. They were delicious. So I enjoyed the goal of those.

You know, that's funny with the w that actually came from the storm damage. So when that had happened, I said, all right, why I have to harvest all the CPD and cucumber? So, uh, my husband and I ate a lot of soup December that week. And then I gave it away to many people as I could. But again, that's a benefit is that from this thing that could have ruined or our garden.

Was the sense of connection. I was able to get all of this stuff away and we were able to eat a lot of zucchini and cucumber that way I enjoyed it. I did, I did tell me more about you once referenced to me this idea of hunters and gatherers. And I honestly, I [00:29:00] don't recall exactly what it meant or how, but I remember being really excited about it.

So how does this connect back to, you know, our history as, as people. Yeah. And so I can't say that I'm an expert and I, uh, there's this idea of the hunter farmer theory, uh, especially related to ADHD. Um, and that being that way back when there were people who. We're hunters and they were people who are farmers.

And if you think about the skills and strengths of a hunter is that you have this big burst of energy. You're out hunting. You have this hyper-focus, you're really in the moment. And then you rest, whereas a farmer. It's kind of that day in day out, routine daily, uh, watering and managing and problem solving the long-term rewards.

Well, what they found is that people who are [00:30:00] neurodivergent or closer to the ADHD side of the spectrum, tend to be more of the hunter type, but. For myself, at least with gardening, it's kind of teaching me some of those things that are really difficult. And so it's kind of close teaching me the farmer type skills that have been very difficult.

And so that's, I I'm fascinated by it myself. Um, and I know when we talked about it, it's. It's a really cool concept because it's, it's taking away the stigma of like, there's something wrong with you, or this is a disorder it's like, no, your brain just typically kind of works in this way. And we can also build skills that.

Maybe counteract that as well. And they say, you know that when we play or we do something we enjoy, we, you know, make neuropathways so much faster. So if you're someone who is [00:31:00] interested in working on executive functioning skills or working on slowing down, You know, if you enjoy the lesson, it's going to stick a lot sooner and a lot faster.

So gardening might be just a really wonderful way to kind of make those neuropathways stronger, a lot faster, even sounds like a hundred percent. Yeah. And especially with children, you know, more learning those skills of, wow. I didn't plan ahead. And now. Um, my tomato plant is falling over. And so you're starting to learn kind of through natural consequences, literally that natural consequences of why it's important to plan ahead and what works and what.

Which I think coming, going back to what we talked about, the very start, why you're really passionate about bringing this into mental health treatment, because it can be so therapeutic and, [00:32:00] um, really touch on challenging somebody as well as, you know, really experiencing those races. You know, or that increase in confidence or increase in self value when we're able to work through the difficulty.

You know, I think people. Experience, you know, when someone asked, like, how can I raise myself esteem or how can I, you know, increase my self worth. One of, at least for me, strategies go to is to take on the hard stuff. I think really we think let's avoid the hard stuff so that we feel okay. But really taking on the harder stuff we're taking on the MPR, unpredictable or challenging ourselves.

Is where we gain that belief in ourself and that self-assurance, and that self-confidence, and, you know, gardening can really lend to that as like, well, this didn't work. What can I do differently? Or, Hey, you know, I'm not going to shame myself that [00:33:00] I didn't know to prop up this plant. I'm just going to try something different.

And it's in those small daily moments that we can really change even our perspective on herself and how we navigate the. Yes, a hundred percent. And the thing that I like about it too, is that we can push ourselves outside of the box, like you were saying, and really find ways to challenge ourselves. This is a way that has a visual, tangible progress, and being able to see the plant growing, being able to hold something in your hand, that makes it a little easier to connect to success.

I agree. I think that's why, in some ways, people. Appreciate any sort of somatic or body modality, right? Is that when we lift, we get stronger. When we, um, do yoga, we feel more regulated. Like those things are so tangible. Uh, when we do art therapy, we have a picture at [00:34:00] the end of it or expressive therapy, you know, when we garden, we have that tangible.

It means something, not only did you create, but that you can put inside yourself for increased wellbeing because nobody's out there growing cheeseburgers, you know, you're growing like these really wonderful things that even add to your health. So you're right. That's cool. Well then how can someone, you know, we live in a city again, we wrapped the concrete jungles in a way.

So some of us have access to plots of land or a yard. Now we don't, you know, that's, that's a privilege to even have a space to have a garden. So we want to make sure that anyone can feel like they can apply. You know, to their life right now, whether they, regardless of, you know, having an outdoor space or not.

So how, how does one even begin to have a garden, both outdoors and perhaps even inside alternative. Yes, absolutely. And I think this is, uh, an [00:35:00] important thing to talk about because the idea of a garden can be overwhelming, especially if you're like me where I am an all or nothing kind of person. And so it's really hard for me to go small.

So,

um, but yeah, so like, in my mind, if I'm in a garden, I'm going to have. Five acres of land and live completely off the land and homestead. Right. But it doesn't have to be that way. Um, if you have a backyard, great. Start with a small garden, you can, you know, get some, even potted plants. If you don't have a backyard, if you have, let's say a balcony outside, there's a lot of things that you can do in container gardening, where you just have a pot and you.

Uh, pepper plant or something that, oh my gosh, my friend cam has, like over the years started growing all these different variety of [00:36:00] peppers in these, in a potted plant garden. And it's so cool to hear him talk about like the success of trying a new breeder species or whatever y'all call it and, and, and what works and what doesn't, and it's just become a thing.

Yeah, it can, it's really fun. He seems to really enjoy. Yeah. I mean, that's the thing is that even if you start small, it most likely will escalate big. There's so much to learn. There's so much that you can do with it. But I do recommend starting small, maybe trying out one or two plants or types of plants, especially ones that, you know, you'll eat.

My initial mistakes were like, Making, or I want to try growing all of these different varieties and I never ended up eating any of it. Um, and you want to be able to like, hit that success. The other thing too is like, let's say you don't have the space, um, where it's a backyard or a balcony. If you have a really sunny [00:37:00] window in, you can do these things in doors.

Um, depending on. Your space or even just having a couple of herbs for your kitchen. Um, and if you really are not having that kind of space, there's a lot of places. I mean, here, uh, we have a lot of community gardens where you can actually sign up for a spot. You don't have to do the work and setting your garden up, but you get this space to be able to grow your plants.

And it's a really nice way to connect to other people who are also in that garden and kind of getting that community, like I said. Okay. I, I have a super serious question for you. Yeah, you ready? Okay. Everything I grow does not really live. I won't say I kill it, but. I need you to tell me, like, what are some really Hardy hard to not ruin either herbs or a [00:38:00] vegetable or something that I can at least experience and anyone else's name can experience like the fruit of their labors a little bit, you know, versus before trying to do something that's pretty temperamental or different.

Honestly for myself, like 10 years ago, I was a plant killer. I had no interest in plants, every single one I had died. Um, and it really is just about whatever you choose. So let's say you pick a house planned or an herb or you start a garden it's it's about looking it up. Um, I would say the basics is like most people Overwatch.

Um, especially indoor plants. My basic go-to is once a week in the summer, or once every other week in the winter to water plants. Um, but you know, that's why I say start small because having that one plant to start with, and it's like, okay, [00:39:00] this is how much sunlight it needs. This is how much water it needs.

You start to, to pick that up quickly. Okay. I always buy the like potted Bazell at the grocery store, which is probably not the best place to start a garden. And then that usually does not survive. So maybe it's just the source of where I'm like getting my product from, you know, so it'll probably be easier if I start with seeds.

Wouldn't you think just seeds or how does someone even start in urban? Now we're getting on a whole nother topic, but I still want to know. I mean, honestly, like for myself, I have, I mean, you've, you've seen, I have a lot of plants in my garden, but it also comes down to kind of like the. The acceptance of the life cycle.

And so a lot of times people think like I can't keep plants alive. So I, this is just not for me. I need throw away plants [00:40:00] left and right. Like I don't keep plants alive all the time. And it's that acceptance piece of like, again, the perfectionism all or nothing. It's okay to have a Bazell plant and you reap the rewards and sometimes it dies and sometimes you're able to keep it alive and, um, Good point.

So even, you know, we look at it clinically, you know, kind of that, not shaming ourselves, because something didn't have perfect success, you know, or that we weren't perfect in that you're right. There is an acceptance of some things. There is only one season four and that's okay. Or that you had to throw it away.

Agreed. Okay. So self. Yeah, of course. And I think another piece of this too, is like I was saying, and I guess I didn't really touch on it is that the social piece of this is huge for mental health and physical health and wellbeing. Um, this isn't an activity [00:41:00] that is meant to be really alone. Um, of course, like I spent a lot of time alone in my garden and I am an introvert and I love that, but there are.

Plant people are the nicest people on the planet. I have to tell you, so going to a garden store and asking questions, um, here in Wisconsin, there's a ton of different like Facebook pages where people post pretty pictures of their gardens or asking questions and people are so willing to help that. I think that's a really good place to start.

Finding a friend or a family member or community that will, will kind of support you along the way. I agree. Agreed. Well, thank you so much for being here today for, you know, bringing kind of the nature to us. And I mean, I feel inspired before recording this. My husband was like, all right, so maybe we'll [00:42:00] have a garden.

Maybe you'll want to do that after this episode. And I was like, no, I go, just cause I'm interested in the topic does not mean I'm going to then make a garden and here I am, maybe because fiery and an exciting to think about and all the benefits. Yeah, it is. I mean, it's hard to find an activity that gives you that many benefits, that many realms.

And honestly, I think we all need a little bit of challenge and, and sometimes heartbreak and sometimes success. And I should say too, like we said, at the beginning, This really isn't necessarily about the gardening. It's mostly, how can we reconnect with who we are as human beings, human beings. And if that means just getting outside, if that means you eat the zucchini that I ended up making, you know, that there's benefits to all of that.[00:43:00] 

Well, and thank you too, for being so open today and sharing, you know, part of your story and discussing, you know, parts of yourself and, and putting it out there for all of us, just to learn from you and to, and to hear, you know, alternative narratives. And so I just thank you for, for sharing and, and really for being here and bringing this to us, of course.

And when you start that garden, let me know, I'll come up with. I was already going to like ask you after we recorded. Please tell me I have a backyard. I don't know what to do with it, you know, or maybe I'll just start small, see theory go. Or I'm going to reign in. I'll just start with a couple of pots and I think that'll be good.

Okay. Well, thank you. Thank you so much. Thank you. 

Thank you again for joining us on Insight Mind Body Talk, a body-centered mental health podcast. We hope today's episode was empowering and [00:44:00] supported you in strengthening your mind-body connection We're your hosts Jeanne and Jess. Please join us again as we continue to explore integrative approaches to wellbeing. Until then, take care.